Ensure a diverse vegetational structure
Relatively undisturbed lowland raised bog surfaces are not uniform; they are made up of an almost continuous carpet of Sphagnum with a microtopography of hummocks and hollows providing a range of conditions that support invertebrates. It is important to minimise human activity on undisturbed raised bogs; wet Sphagnum communities are fragile and easily damaged by trampling.
Shallow bog pools should never be deepened or cleared, as their invertebrate interest is likely to be far greater than any larger pool that is created.
Small-scale peat cuttings
Existing small-scale peat cuttings are very effective in providing and maintaining early successional stages, small pools, bare peat and low vegetation, thus diversifying vegetation composition and structure. The typical mosaic created by domestic hand-cutting of peat provides a range of small-scale structures across a site, and this is good for invertebrates. Large-scale peat extraction is extremely damaging. Peat cutting methods involving drainage of the peat are also harmful.
On a site with a falling water table, areas of domestic peat cuttings can provide areas of wet bog which may act as valuable refugia. Following the water table down by removal of peat, is, however, an unsatisfactory way of maintaining such conditions in the long term.
For invertebrate conservation it is best if diggings are small, much shallower than traditional cuttings. The best form of cutting tends only to be deep enough to form a shallow pool, with turves replaced at the bottom of the cutting. Some ground beetles such as Pterostichus aterrimus and Bembidion humerale are more likely to be associated with peat-cutting or other anthropogenic disturbance. B. humerale occurs on small patches of rather bare damp peat at the margins of old peat-digging pools and land-drains, but it is absent from the expanses of bare peat created by modern peat-milling operations; in Britain, this species occurs only at Thorne and Hatfield Moors. Raising water levels at Thorne and Hatfield Moors may have allowed the species to colonise new areas, but it may also have made previously occupied areas unsuitable. The uncommon dysticid beetle Acilius canaliculatus also appears to favour acid pools created as a result of past domestic peat-cutting.
Management should take into account the faunas of these sites and of fringing wetland habitats, as well as the core habitats of the lowland raised bog. However, peat digging, even domestic cutting, is always damaging to the habitat when carried out on a part of the bog surface which has not previously been cut for peat. Nor should it be done in areas where past peat cutting has been so extensive as to leave only a thin covering of peat over the mineral soil, as any nutrients from the mineral soil will encourage the development of fen rather than bog communities.
Grazing on Sphagnum-dominated bogs can cause extensive damage by trampling and enrichment of the water supply through dung and urine.
Burning is a highly damaging practice for invertebrates, as it will destroy large numbers or even entire populations. On acid sites, burning can alter the plant species composition, encouraging the growth of purple moor grass. The heat of the fire can kill Sphagnum and burn into the peat, damaging the invertebrate habitat.